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Good morning, and happy MondayWe’d like to extend a warm welcome to Andrew Parsonson, who today joins the Payload rocket ship as a contributor. Andrew runs the European Spaceflight site, and he’s been on the space beat since 2017. You’ll hear more from him soon, but for now, a quick word from Andrew: 

Hi all, I’m Andrew. I am passionate about documenting and promoting European space advancements and achievements to ensure the continent’s place in the annals of space history. Long story short, Europe has entered the chat, and we’ve got a lot to say.

In today’s newsletter…
📝 DEI toolkit
🚀 Transporter-4
🗓️ The week ahead

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  Space Frontier Foundation Releases DEI Toolkit

The Space Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group with a 35-year history in the aerospace industry, has released its first survey on the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in space. 

Why? The aerospace industry needs innovation to survive. “Innovation thrives when you bring diverse perspectives into a room together,” Ann Kapusta, Space Frontier Foundation’s executive director, told Payload. “The impact that you’re having by limiting your pool of thought…[has] downstream impacts in your organization.”

The foundation offers a framework for companies looking to improve DEI practices, including the experience of diverse perspectives within companies as well as hiring practices. The result is an in-depth toolkit for companies to reference. The foundation also makes itself available as a resource for founders looking for more advice and guidance.

The numbers at a glance: The foundation surveyed 153 anonymous, voluntary participants from the aerospace industry. Questions sought to grok the qualitative experience of people from diverse backgrounds, rather than the number of people from various ethnic, gender, and disability groups.

Survey findings

  • White people are 50% more likely to make above $100,000 than other groups
  • White respondents were 30% more likely to have received a requested raise than non-white counterparts with similar experience and time in the industry
  • People with disabilities are 33% less likely to feel comfortable discussing medical accommodations with their companies’ HR departments, but are more than twice as likely to have to request accommodations

Looking deeper: More importantly than the data points alone, the team at the foundation aimed to give companies a set of actionable steps to take to improve the experience of diverse members of their teams. The survey laid out five key goals for companies looking to improve the experience of diverse groups at work:

  1. Equal representation
  2. Balanced power dynamics between employees
  3. High experience of belonging among employees
  4. Evaluation of the environmental and social impacts of services and products
  5. High experience of fairness among employees

The steps to reach each of these goals varies by organization. Space Frontier Foundation hopes to partner and tailor the process for organizations willing to engage, from startups to large corporations. 

  • “When I speak to startup founders and such, they’re really just trying to get by and put out fire after fire in their organization,” said Kim Macharia, chair of the foundation’s board of directors. “Oftentimes, DEI is just an afterthought. So the fact that we can give them things that are concrete to look forward to achieving is something people seem to really appreciate.”

Closing thoughts: By failing to ensure an equitable workplace, “you don’t only lose the current workforce, but you lose the next generation,” said Kapusta. “Because representation matters. And if we’re not building an environment where we can show to the next generation that you’re important, and you’re welcome here, and we need your voice…we’re just stuck in the current cycle that we are now.”

SpaceX Launches Fourth Carpool for Spaceships

On Friday, April 1, SpaceX launched Transporter-4, its fourth dedicated smallsat rideshare mission, from SLC 40 in Cape Canaveral. After stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage returned home and landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.
Image: SpaceX

On Friday, SpaceX launched Transporter-4, its fourth dedicated smallsat rideshare mission. Of the 40 payloads that Jason Statham Falcon 9 transported from SLC-40 to orbit, we dug deeper some of the ones that caught our attention: 

  1. EnMAP, a German hyperspectral satellite mission
  2. D-Orbit’s ION Satellite Carrier
  3. Pixxel’s TD2 spacecraft
  4. Lynk Tower 1
  5. Five Satellogic (NASDAQ:SATL) ÑuSats

+ Go deeper: More on Transporter-4 and these payloads here.

In Other News

  • Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin said the Russian space agency will stop cooperating with NASA on the ISS until sanctions are lifted, but the threat is likely a bluff.
  • Lightning struck four times near SLS this weekend and hit towers that are part of a lightning protection system at Launch Complex 39B. The moon rocket’s wet dress rehearsal was bumped to today at the earliest (more below).
  • Ax-1 slipped to Friday (more below). On Friday, CEO Michael Suffredini said Axiom has a flexible launch window, should SLS prep next door cause conflicts. He also said Axiom is targeting Ax-4 as its first crewed mission with four paying customers (and no employees).
  • Ukrainian forces have allegedly captured Russian Auriga-1.2V equipment near Kyiv, according to uncorroborated social media chatter. The portable satcom system is used for secure comms between military command and frontline military units. 
  • Timedeclares that “the age of private space stations is upon us,” and selected Astroscale, Axiom, and Spinlaunch as among the 100 most influential companies of 2022. 
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey was released in theaters 54 years ago Saturday (April 2). What a run!

The Week Ahead

Today: At 6 am ET, the Artemis I launch control team met to “review the status of the operations before deciding” whether to proceed with SLS propellant loading. The mega-rocket’s wet dress rehearsal is set to resume today, with the test T-0 tentatively set for 2:40 pm ET. 

Mynaric (NASDAQ:MYNA) will report earnings at 11 am ET. The 37th Space Symposium kicks off in Colorado Springs and runs through Thursday. The Space Foundation expects 10,000+ to attend the symposium IRL and virtually. NAVITEC 2022, a satnav conference, kicks off in the Netherlands.

Tuesday, April 5: The House Armed Services Committee is holding the FY 2023 Defense Budget Request hearing, which begins at 9:30 am ET. NASA will hold a 10 am ET presser with Mark Vande Hei, who recently returned home after notching a US spaceflight record at the ISS.

Wednesday, April 6: SpaceX/Axiom will conduct a dry dress rehearsal and integrated static fire test in advance of the Ax-1 mission’s launch later in the week.

Thursday, April 7: The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) is holding a hearing at 9:30 am ET on the DoD’s FY23 budget request. 

Friday, April 8: Axiom and SpaceX are now targeting the launch of the Ax-1 private astronaut mission for 11:17 am ET. The crew and their Dragon spaceship are expected to dock with the ISS at ~7:30 am ET on Saturday. 

The View from New Zealand

Rocket Lab's "Without Mission a Beat" flight takes off under a starry sky.
Image: Joseph Baxter/Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab (NASDAQ:RKLB) launched yet another pair of BlackSky birds on Saturday. “Without Mission a Beat” was Electron’s 25th successful launch. Rocket Lab has successfully now deployed 112 satellites.